The National Children's Literacy Website is a unique children's literacy initiative and is part of the Soho Center's National Children's Literacy Information Project - a not-for-profit
literacy initiative dedicated to advancing the literacy skills of young children, promoting literacy as an integral factor
in the growth of society, and enhancing literacy in a variety of
home and child care settings. We believe that reading is a fundamental skill needed by all, and we are proud of what we are doing to help children learn to read.


Educational Activities

M a k e   L e a r n i n g   F u n !

  Encourage children to do things for themselves when they are ready.  Let them feed and dress themselves and clean up after themselves even if these tasks take more time and are not done perfectly.

  Teach children songs, poems, and rhymes.  Encourage them to dance, sing, and clap their hands to the music or words.

  Talk with children as you play and do daily activities together.  Ask your children lots of questions and be sure to listen to their answers. 

  Point out to children printed words at home, at child care, and in the community. 

  Help each child learn to write his or her own name.  Print each name for them to trace.  Let them pretend to write and sign a very important message.

  When you are reading a cookbook, magazine, or newspaper, give your children their own books or pages to look at.  Looking at books that don't have words still counts as "reading." 

  Cut out a food pyramid from the side of a cereal box or other food.  Talk about the different food groups.  Ask your children to name their favorite foods and what food group each one belongs to. 

  Print the letters in each child's name.  Ask them to name three words that begin with each letter of their name. 

  Help your children cut pictures of healthy foods out of a magazine.  Have children glue the pictures on paper plates.  Make a mobile by hanging the plates with yarn to a clothes hanger. 

  Help each child make a book for someone special - drawing pictures showing what each child likes about "their" person.  Write down what the picture is about.  Share it with their special person. 

  Have your children look in a mirror and name the features on their faces. Ask them what each part does and whether they have one or two of each part named. 

  Take your children outside with a bucket of water and a paint brush to "paint" their names on the sidewalk or wall (be sure to tell tham that it's only OK with water, not with real paints!).  They can also draw shapes and letters with the water. 

  Have pretend phone conversations with your children asking what your children did yesterday, are doing today, and want to do tomorrow. 

  Take a "counting" walk.  Pick something to count (cars, signs, flowers, birds, bikes) and as you walk, keep track of how many you see. 

  Sing "Old McDonald Had a Farm" with your children.  Take turns making the animal sounds. 

  Sing a simple song with your children.  Count the words that rhyme. Make up a new song of your own using words that rhyme. 

  Play "Hide and Seek" with your children.  Hide an object and give your children three easy-to-follow clues to find it.  Congratulate children for listening and following directions when they find the object. 

  Play a game of leap frog.  Measure how far your children can "hop." 

  Make up songs or rhymes using your children's names.  Let your children add motions to the songs as you sing them. 

  Have your children try to name five things that start with the letter "F," then five things that start with "U," then "N."  Write down the words the children mention.  Then write the letters "FUN" to show your children how much fun letters are! 

  Fill a low shelf or drawer with safe toys, books, or empty containers for your children.  Write your children's names on pieces of paper, let your children decorate them, and then tape them to the "special" place. 

  Play "catch" with your children.  Stand a short distance from them and toss or roll a large ball back and forth.  Count aloud each time someone catches the ball. 

Show each of your children how to spell their full name, street address, town, city, and phone number.  Repeat this information often so that they can memorize it. 

  Make up a story with your children as the main characters.  Let the children retell the story to you. 

  Talk with your children about the difference between hot and cold, big and small, open and closed, and other opposites.  Help your children find or think of examples for each word. 

  Find several boxes of different sizes.  Have your children line them up from smallest to largest.  See if the children can stack the boxes without having them fall. 

  Sing a song!  Teach your children the songs or rhymes you loved as a child.  Help your children make up a silly song. 

  Help each child write a poem about his or her family.  Be creative. Start each line with a letter from the word "family."  Encourage children to draw pictures to go with their stories. 

  Help your children make puzzles.  Cut up a pretty card or magazine cover in large pieces.  Encourage your children to put the picture back together. 

  Put on a play.  Dress up in costumes and act out a simple story.  Pop popcorn for a snack afterwards. 

  Every time your children have to climb up or down stairs today, count out loud with your children each step they take. 

  Print out two sets of alphabet letters: one upper case (capitals) and the other lower case (small letters).  Cut the letters out, mix them up, and play a matching game with your children (A-a, B-b, C-c). 

  Set a red, a yellow, and a green apple on the table.  Ask your children to name the colors.  Cut the apples open and talk about how they have different colors on the outside but are the same on the inside, just like people.  Enjoy your snack! 

  Different people celebrate different holidays.  Talk about children's favorite holidays.  What does each holiday celebrate? 

  Play the "colored food" game.  How many foods can your children think of that are red, green, yellow, orange, purple?  What "color" foods did your children eat today? 

  When your children are old enough to not put objects in their mouth, give your children an assortment of buttons to be sorted by color, or size.  When the sorting is finished, the children can return the buttons to the jar or can glue them onto cards and give them to someone special. 

  Draw a picture of a clock.  Point to the numbers and let your children tell you what the number is.  Talk about what children do at different times of the day and night. 

  Use an egg carton to teach your children how to sort.  Give your children a variety of buttons or coins and let them sort objects by color, size, or item. 

  Plan an indoor picnic for lunch.  Let your children bring some favorite books to read. 

  Trace each child's hand on a piece of paper.  Ask your children to think of different ways people can be kind to others.  Write their ideas on each finger of the hand drawing. 

  Help your children name letters of the alphabet in the newspaper headlines or a magazine cover.  Cut out five new letters for your children to keep and to learn the sound each letter makes. 

  Have your children point out all the round-shaped things nearby.  Have a round snack of banana slices, crackers, cookies, or tortillas. 

  Print the alphabet on a piece of paper.  Point to each letter as you sing the Alphabet Song together.  Let your children trace the letters.  Pick out the letters used to spell each child's name. And practice the sound that each letter makes.

  Help your children write and send letters to friends.  Let them decorate each one with markers or crayons.


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